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Country Living

Falling in love again with the same old flame every year

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

It’s a bit late in life for some of us to be falling in love again but with each passing year my heart is always won over by the arrival of February, a month of the year that’s vastly under-rated, a bit like custard cream biscuits. My abhorrence of January has been well documented but since schooldays, when we were always  taught that Spring began on the first day of February, or St. Brigid’s Day, the arrival of this month has always been something of a release valve from the melancholia of Winter.

Maybe, a bit naively, we always believed that the rooks looked at the calendar, saw February the 1st on the new page, and said: “Come on lads, time to start gathering the sticks, and making the house for the next family.”

Whether February 1 is the first day of Spring or not in our Northern Hemisphere is always one of those great unsolvable debates. Many diehards are not for turning in their belief that St. Brigid’s Day does indeed mark the first day of Spring, but it’s not a view universally shared.

Met Éireann and the meteorologists will always stick with the ‘temperature model’ of the three months of Spring being March, April and May while my own tin-pot theory about the seasons is that with the mid-point of Winter, being December 21, the season of darkness should begin roughly six weeks before that and end six weeks after.

It was only last week while doing a bit of ‘digging’ about moon phases and their little idiosyncrasies that I stumbled upon the astronomical seasons, with the three months of Spring starting with the Winter Solstice (Dec. 21); Summer beginning with the Spring Equinox (March 21); Autumn kicking off with the Summer Solstice (June 21) and Winter arriving with the Autumn Equinox (Sept. 21).

Anyway, I’ll go with my heart on this one, and stay loyal to the February notion of heralding in the Spring with our sunrises at last creeping back to pre-8am times by the middle of the month while a week or so later the sunset – at last – touches 6pm. Good riddance at last to those Winter days when the evening gloom was a most unwelcome visitor before 4pm.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Country Living

Little by way of ready relief from hypochondria ailment

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

Not all the time, but here and there, I get occasional nominations for being the number one hypochondriac in my immediate circle, an ‘accolade’ I hotly dispute but often to no avail. There is always that tendency when a sudden headache arrives or a twinge in the back comes like a lightning strike or a cough starts out of the blue to straight away harbour thoughts of impending doom.

With the passing of years – even decades – you get subtle hints of your finitude (a fancy way of saying that you’re going to die sometime) and you begin to check out medical terms like floaters (little black spots that appear in your line of vision), cataracts, osteoarthritis, diabetes, depression and of course the dreaded dementia.

If you can tick off more than two of those boxes then you know that you’re in a bit of bother and the only hope is that if you tick them all, you’re probably just in a state of chronic hypochondria rather than being on your last legs.

Luckily many years ago after a brief flirtation with cigarettes while at school (secondary), some kind of a spirit descended upon me and prompted me to turn my back on the dreaded weed, which has now become horrendously expensive as well as killing you off before your time.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Country Living

Learning to accept that we’re going to live in a perfect world

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

So, we’ve gotten over the hullabaloo about cutting a bit of turf and selling a few bags here and there to a neighbour or relative . . . or have we? It is kind of hard to figure out, but in the Irish political world of nods and winks, apparently there’ll be ‘no notice taken’ of people cutting a bit of turf for their own use and putting a trailer or two on the market.

What a fuss about nothing. In the great world of Google, I looked up how much fuel a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet burns on one of its journeys.

The figures are quite astonishing. Ever hour that The Jumbo is in the air, she burns 10 or 11 tonnes of fuel. So, over a seven-hour spin that equates to roughly 75 tonnes of aeronautic fuel. To put it another way, during every second of flying, one gallon of fuel is burned up.

When I sit back and think about this, it just puts a sense of perspective on what’s being going on in our little ‘cabbage garden’ (borrowed from Lord Haw Haw) over recent weeks.

I’m not for a minute suggesting either that we start banning 747s from our skies, but it just shows the scale of what fuel is being burnt off on our planet every second of every minute of every hour that passes.

While Ryanair’s Michael O’Leary mightn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, at times he just says things as they are. Of course, he has a massive, vested interest in the travel business, but a couple of weeks back on radio, he asked the simple question of how as an island nation we could survive without our network of air links. The simple answer is of course that we couldn’t.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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Country Living

Accepting that ‘fairly okay’ is as good as it’s going to get

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Trying to solve the unresolvable riddle of life.

Country Living with Francis Farragher

I seem to have spent a lifetime in that in-between land of being too busy for comfort and spells of abject laziness when the thought of leaving the bed for an early-morning sunrise can feel like a decision to climb Mount Everest. Of late, I seem to be hit by a range of publications and learned observations from people who seem to know things about life, espousing the virtues of learning to take it a bit easier; to switch off from the daily tribulations of life if only for a few minutes . . . meditation really does seem to be in the in-word.

Back around the mid-1980s, I remember going on a sun holiday to Cyprus for two weeks duration which I thought in my innocence should equate to a fortnight of heavenly bliss. The reality though was somewhat different.

Being a child of the sixties in rural Ireland the word holiday only meant one thing namely being off school for the Summer . . . . and for Christmas and Easter too as our classroom taskmasters needed their breaks too, not that it seemed to improve the demeanour of many of them to any great extent.

The nearest any of us ever came to a foreign holiday was in the form of a sponsored programme on Radio One, pretty much the only station we ever listened to, which for 15 minutes one morning a week, outlined all the available options for trips to places like Spain and far-away islands like the Canaries.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

 

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